Chris and I were planning on going to the Isle of Harris last week for four days of sea kayaking but looked at the forecast on Monday and saw to our disbelief there were high winds due for the first two days. Instead, we decided to find some water to go river kayaking.
After a bit of research, we worked out that there was no water in the north of Scotland (or at least anywhere north of Aveimore) and a journey down to Perthshire was required.
Our destination was the Blackwater, a grade 4 river (kayakers grade rivers from 1 – 6, 1 being flat water and 6 being very demanding) which runs through a gorge . The section we ran was approximately 5km long. Once we arrived we found we were not the only group there and got chatting to another set of guys that were running it as well.
They had decided they were going to paddle down the river in two kayaks and a raft (there were four of them). We all had a good laugh going down the river with some interesting waterfalls and gorge sections. We managed to collect some video footage and will be posting it on YouTube soon.
Day two found us back at Chris’s house looking at the computer, hoping for water. But once again it was to Perthshire we went. This time we decided to run the Lyon which is a nice 3/4 river.
We parked the car, got kitted up and jumped on the river. We had more of a warm up on this river before it plunged again into a gorge. The river had interesting rapids but you needed to concentrate all the way down.
Once we reached the get-out, I left Chris with the boats and started jogging back to the car, hoping to be picked up on the way. After about 2 miles a kind person picked me up and just around the corner was the car!
Once I got back to Chris, I found him with a cup of tea, adjusting his boat and talking to the bunch of cows which had gathered to watch. After quickly getting changed (with the cows still watching him), we headed back home, hoping that there would be some rain in the north.
Day three, once again no water! It looked like another trip to Perth. But Chris found a river, the North Esk, further east. Three hours of scenic country lanes later, we arrived. The run was great, a good fun river with some falls to get your teeth into. As with the previous days we managed to get some video footage of the run.
Once at the get out I again ran back to the car, this time getting picked up within a mile and getting a lift all the way. When I got to Chris, I found him talking to a holidaying couple who told him we were only 30 mins drive away from Aberdeen! So we jumped into the car and went up the east coast instead. Thinking 30 mins to Aberdeen, 2 hours from there to home no problem! 3 hours and 30 mins later we arrived, thanks to roadworks.
Day four today Chris had found a run in the north that could be run at “any level” – the River Carron just north of Ardgay. As we drove up the river, we wondered if there was a limit to “any level”.
We arrived and decided to run the river thinking that it might get deeper when it went through the gorge. This it did, but not by much. At the end we had fun, got battered and decided that in higher water, it could be a lot more fun. It was now time to get back to base and see what the video footage was like.
Over the four days, Chris and I had some great fun and ran some fantastic rivers. The video of our trip will be on YouTube soon and the rivers we paddled can be seen on our website.